Roger Ebert was understandably outraged to find that there's an "intermediate level" version of the Great Gatsby being offered to students. As he writes,
"There is no purpose in "reading" The Great Gatsby unless you actually read it. Fitzgerald's novel is not about a story. It is about how the story is told. Its poetry, its message, its evocation of Gatsby's lost American dream, is expressed in Fitzgerald's style--in the precise words he chose to write what some consider the great American novel. Unless you have read them, you have not read the book at all. You have been imprisoned in an educational system that cheats and insults you by inflicting a barbaric dumbing-down process. You are left with the impression of having read a book, and may never feel you need return for a closer look."
Preach it, brother.
Over at Beauty Tips for Ministers, PeaceBang offered advice for a minister interviewing for a job. The church had asked her to take public transportation from the airport to a spot a few blocks from the church and the interviewee wondered how she could get from said stop to the church without getting extra glowy. PeaceBang's advice: That's why God invented taxis. She goes on:
"Do you think any of the people on the search committee would actually take public transportation with their luggage to an important, potentially life-changing interview? Of course they wouldn’t. I think they’re being rude and inhospitable and you should not hesitate to tell the truth of how you got there. If they want you to be on your best game right away upon your arrival they should jolly well send someone to fetch you at the airport. And so right away, dear heart, I wonder about the church’s spirit of generosity and fairness. A first meet-and-greet is no time to “experience city life.” That’s pure bull pucks and I’d be the first to say so to whoever came up with that sad excuse to leave you on your own to find your way to them."
Preach it, sister! The comments also are worth a read. Many of them say in one way or another, "Run away! Run away!"
In rhetorical news (not really "news," I suppose), I liked this post about the various ways people use "Straw Man" arguments. The authors talk about how straw man arguments are actually a failure of dialogue, which I'd never considered before. Unlike other logical fallacies, "straw-manning involves the misrepresentation of an interlocutor’s view; consequently, Straw Man fallacies involve more than one person. When we commit a straw man fallacy, we fail to live up to the responsibilities of the exchange of reasons."
I have to say my favorite obituary this week was the life of romance novelist Emma Blair who "was, in reality, Iain Blair, a burly 6ft 3in Glaswegian actor with a 60-a-day habit and a fondness for a good pint."
But as an A's fan, I also appreciated the obit for Dick Williams who coached the A's to their 1972 and 1973 World Series wins.
“'This team was basically 25 versions of me, Williams said in his 1990 memoir, No More Mr. Nice Guy, written with Bill Plaschke. 'They didn’t care about their appearance (we looked like damn hippies) or their deportment (we fought like sailors),' he recalled, adding that they didn’t care about 'anything but winning.'”
Finally, a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook that captures the experience of Trader Joe's perfectly.